Life is filled with experiences that we bring to our voice-over work. Each experience providing some further texture and context to the performances we give. Voice-over, after all, is voice acting. So, I share the following story as simply one glimpse into another world. One you probably don’t inhabit. I know I don’t.
Last week I was in Manila, Philippines for a business trip. I stayed in the Manila Hotel, a very nice middle-class hotel just across the street from where I was working. On Sunday afternoon I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood near the hotel. Setting off, I walked along the street which bordered a golf course. A few blocks along the way, a young Filipino man started walking with me. He didn’t know a lot of English and I knew no Tagalog, but he pointed out a few of the buildings we were walking past, a museum, the Presidential residence (called the White House, just as it is in the USA), the main newspaper’s headquarters, and so forth.
A few blocks further along and I could see that the street was trending into a neighborhood that seemed quite a bit more seamy, so I turned around and began walking back the way I came. The young man kept pace, continuing to chat cheerfully. A block or so after we turned around, he spotted a street vendor, a woman carrying a large flat basket filled with packets of rice wrapped in some sort of broad green leaf. The young man asked me if I would buy him some of the rice. He said, “I’m very hungry.” “Two, please,” he asked. At that point, we stopped the woman. I asked how much. “6 pesos each,” she replied. I had 4 coins in my pocket, each worth 5 pesos. I gave her 3 and told her to keep the change.
At 51 pesos to the US dollar, the transaction cost me about 30 cents. For that slender sum, the young man had his meal and the old woman got a bit extra for her efforts. And I got the memory of both of their smiling faces.